Em Rusciano, one of Australia’s well known radio hosts, comedian, singer, queen of sparkle is an avid supporter of the LGBTIQ+ community, as a heterosexual woman with a goal to bridge the gap between the two communities.
Describing herself as “the gay man trapped in a straight women’s body who looks like a lesbian” – there’s no denying she shares love and support for all, saying “I’m an ally because my closest friends are gay”.
“I love my friends and I want them to be happy and to have the same rights I have. To me, it’s not an effort for me to be an ally of the gay community in any way, it’s just love and equality”.
Growing up, Em has had a lot of exposure to diversity – seeing everyone as one. With her mum working at the AIDS City Hospital in Melbourne where from a very young age in the late 80’s where HIV was prevalent at that time, she would sit with the men who were in the hospices, sharing stories and chatting to them.
“I’d go sit with them and they’d chat with me and it was never an issue because my parents are pretty open and they’ve always had gay friends.”
“It’s never really occurred to me that the fact that they love who they love; it is factored into them as a person, like to me it was just a normal thing, so I was lucky in that I was brought up in a very accepting environment.”
Having been one to always willing to step up to a challenge, get involved, and to never back down, there have been some extraordinary moments of Rusciano’s colourful and soft side.
Rusciano performed at the Orlando Benefit last year, raising money for the victims of Pulse Nightclub to having hosted the fabulous 2017 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras on SBS alongside good friend Joel Creasey, which she describes as “the real career goal and life goal”.
Having labelled her involvement as a huge honour, she adds “The LGBTIQ community has been so accepting and loving of me that I just, anything I can do to help or be a part of is second nature, makes me blush.
“It’s always been positive, wonderful, loving and accepting. I know what it is to be different, colourful and bright.”
It goes without saying, Rusciano’s support for the LGBTIQ community, youth and mental health is inspiring, humble and amazing. So why does she stand up as an ally?
“I think it’s so important to support young people in general but especially if they’re a bit vulnerable,” she said.
“I’m a mother, I work, I’m a pretty normal person. I represent 9 out of 10 working mothers out there, and I hope that I encourage other straight people to come forward and say ‘yeah I don’t have an issue and I’m an ally’.”
“I just want to bridge the gap between the two communities and just say we’re all the same, we really are. I just hope to be the person that bridges, helps bridge the community and brings it all together.”
Not only does she stand proud as an ally with the LGBTIQ community, but she also stands as a proud mother to two girls, teaching them life values, equality and love.
When asked what advice would the now Em Rusciano give to her younger self, her daughters and to the Rainbow Youth, the message was clear.
“I never felt like I was enough or that I was achieving enough or doing enough or I was very uncertain, but looking back I was being myself.”
“But at the time I didn’t feel it because I was looking for external validation and not getting it. So I think every kid needs to be told that who you are is right, the right thing and it’s enough.”
“I think that’s the main message I try to get across to young gay kids. Who you are is right, don’t let anyone tell you…you’re born, that’s you, that’s right.”
How to follow Em’s work
www.emrusciano.com.au for information on her upcoming 2018 tour, the re-release of her book, and other information.
Download Em’s great single Brand new Day on iTunes